John Piper: ‘I don’t think the Bible anywhere, Old or New Testament, encourages us to believe that perfect obedience in this life is possible. Even where law-keeping was held out in the Mosaic law as required for God’s salvation, the sacrifices were put in place precisely because of the inevitable disobedience. But I would add to this that, both in the old covenant (the Mosaic law) and the new covenant (secured by the blood of Jesus), obedience is required — only there are two different ways to require obedience.’
I think this article is pretty good as far as it goes. It addresses the question of how we can have evangelical catholicity without impeding each other’s differing views of ecclesiology. The questions on twitter, which went further, were about when evangelical unity can/not be maintained and the bounds of our fellowship. But it is helpful to get the thinking of this article right.
On a similar note: ‘Either we land on love or truth from Ephesians 4:15 – often both in the pursuit of unity. Those who land on love don’t want to break relational unity – but they can follow the worldly culture of shutting down debate. Those who land on truth don’t want doctrinal disunity to be hidden, but follow the worldly culture of power and one-upmanship. But a passionate love for the person means we will want to seek truth with them. And a passionate love for truth will lead us to a faith built on love for God and our neighbour. We can’t land on truth or love, we must land on both. Jesus did, after all, embody both truth and love!’
I think most of us can identify with this from Tim Challies: ‘So often I fail to live out God’s two great commandments. So often I fail to love God with my whole heart and to love my neighbor as myself. Why? Why do I fail to live the way I want to live, the way God tells me to live, the way God enables and equips me to live? What is the great daily challenge? The great daily challenge of Christian living is the challenge of simply taking hold of what is mine in Christ’
This is a really good one. ‘We won’t grow into godly Christians by becoming more experienced with worldly sins. We should thank God for saving people out of drugs and debauchery, but an exciting testimony is not something to strive for.’
‘Jesus gave up his life for us. That thought should startle us. He was generous with his entire self, so when we can find spots to act with generosity, we are aligning ourselves with the very core of the gospel message. To hoard resources and stockpile people should feel foreign to followers of Christ. We ought to glory in giving!’
From the archive: Jesus didn’t expect society’s influential to convert in vast numbers, so why do we?
‘Didn’t Jesus say it was easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than it was to enter the kingdom of Heaven? That’s not to say the rich don’t need the gospel; it is just to say it seems the Lord himself expected fewer of them to respond positively to it. Didn’t Paul say to the Corinthian church that not many of them were wise, noble or influential? Didn’t Paul see that as specifically the sort of means God would typically use to express his power and glory? Wasn’t exactly the same said of the apostles at Pentecost? Didn’t Jesus say the gospel was specifically good news to the poor? Didn’t James make a fairly lengthy point about preferring the rich and wealthy to the poor and needy? All of this strikes me as reason to believe – though the Lord has and will save some influential, wise, noble, rich people – these will not be the people amongst whom we will find the greatest harvest.’